Memorialisation – keeping the memory of your loved one alive

Memorialisation – keeping the memory of your loved one alive

LOSING a loved one is a very painful experience and you will miss someone long after they pass away. However, it is common to keep the memory of the deceased alive by memorialising them so that although they may not be with you anymore, you will remember how important they were to you and share this with others.

There are many ways to do this and you may want to highlight something in particular about the person.

Memorialisation has been carried out for thousands of years, with the first documented examples existing from as far back as 35,000 BC, and while the way of doing it has changed, the sentiment behind it has not.

Here are some ideas of memorials for your loved ones.

Create a memorial monument – you can have a monument, plaque or statue in a wide variety of styles and materials and get them engraved with personal messages. That way you will have a permanent place for you and your family to visit even down through the coming generations. Or how about a paving stone or brick with a personalised message? You could also make or commission a piece of art or a painting to keep in your home, or even build your own pond, rock garden or birdhouse to remember them by.

Plant something – If your loved one was keen on nature or gardening, you could plant a tree, a plant or even a whole garden for them. This also creates a place where you can go to remember them, to take care of and to feel their presence. If they are buried, also make sure that you tend to their grave.

Contribute to charity – Donate to a cause which was special to your loved one in their honour. You could also volunteer and if they did so before you, you might get to meet people who knew them and can maybe tell you things about them that you didn’t know. Or you could host an event to raise funds for charity in their name, a walk or run is a good option. Pay it forward in their name too.

Make an online memorial – You can create a virtual space online where you can remember your loved one and share stories, photos and other details with other family members both near and far.

Sponsor a memorial – Find out if anywhere near you will dedicate a bench or something similar to your loved one in a space such as a park. This can be enjoyed by your family as well as others for many years.

Scholarship – If you can afford it and your loved one was attached to their former school or university, you can enquire about setting up a scholarship in their name to help others.

Naming – If they played an important part in the community, approach your local council and find out if an outdoor space can be named in their honour.

Releasing something into the heavens – If you are looking for something less permanent, releasing butterflies or doves into the air can be a nice tribute. Releasing balloons or lanterns can be damaging to the environment.

Photos – If your loved one had a favourite restaurant and knew the owners well, you could ask the owner if their photo could be on display there. In your home, you can use photos from different stages of the person’s life to create a collage and frame it. You can also make albums online so that they can easily be shared with others and printed by those who wish to do so.

Time capsule – Make a time capsule and fill it with things that remind you of your loved one. This is a nice thing to do for a child who loses a parent as it can then be opened for them when they reach a certain age.

Cairn – A memorial which is like those made in prehistoric times. Made from rocks and often located on top of a hill, you can make it any size and put it anywhere, including your garden.

Playlist – Make a playlist of their favourite songs which you can play to remember them. If you have the skills you could write or compose a song too.

Movie night – Have a regular movie night with family and friends and watch films that your loved one enjoyed.

Scrapbook – Make a scrapbook with photos, drawings, letters, poems, quotes… anything that reminds you of your loved one and that can help to create a lasting memory you can look through and share over and over again.

Pinterest – You can create a memory board on Pinterest to share images that remind you of the deceased and thoughts about them. Create a coat of arms for them and your family.

Cooking – Make their favourite meal and invite friends and family to join you. You could make it an annual event. Invent a drink or a dish and give it their name or one they would like.

Poetry – Write a poem or message to your loved one and explain what made them special to you. You could also write a short biography about them. If your loved one wrote or was an artist of some kind, you could try to get their work published or exhibited, or at the least, frame it. If you write them a letter or message, make sure to include anything you may have left unsaid. Other items which they cherished could also be framed and put on show.

Map – If you travelled a lot together, get a map to put on your wall and mark off all the places you visited. Go to places they visited which were special to them.

Tattoos – Getting a tattoo is a popular way to memorialise a loved one.

Stamp – You can get stamps made using photos as well as postcards.

Quilt – Making a quilt from pieces of fabric which were important to your loved one is a perfect way to remember them. You could also make other items such as bags or napkins to give to relatives.

Memorial jewellery – You can get a wide variety of jewellery and trinkets made using the ashes of the deceased or even their fingerprint, which you can keep on you forever. Another memorial is to carry their photo in a locket. There is also jewellery in which you can carry ashes.

Memorial stones – Find nice flat stones and get the proper pens or paints to decorate them and create memorial stones with relatives.

Ornaments – You can get ornaments made or make them yourself to pay tribute to the deceased. They can be for holidays or for displaying all year round. Get a soft toy personalised to remember them.

Candles – You could light a candle in their honour or even have special ones made to give to friends and relatives to light.

Reading – If they loved reading, you could choose some books that they liked and create a kind of book club with family and friends, as well as creating a bookshelf with some of their favourite and most meaningful books.

Bucket list – If they had a bucket list which had some things left on it, you could do them instead. Make memories and remember your loved one while doing so. You could also try out their hobbies or favourite sports. Do things that you enjoyed doing together.

Make amends – If your loved one would have liked you to make amends with someone and you didn’t do so in their lifetime, try to do it now.

Animals – Adopt a rescue animal, especially if helping them is something which was important to your loved one.

Clothes – Wear an item of clothing that belonged to your loved one and remember them while you enjoy it.

Star – Get a star named after them. You can purchase inexpensive kits online to do this.

Name – Suggest that someone in your family is named after them, such as a grandchild, niece or nephew…

Remember them – Drink a toast or pay tribute to them at major events throughout your life and that of your family as well as setting a place for them at family meals. Mark their birthday in some way, even have a party if you feel like it.


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Written by

Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.

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